The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) 2000 and Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR) gives you the right to access non-confidential information held by the Council. The information can be in ‘held’ in various forms which includes printouts, computerised records, maps, plans, microfilm, audio-visual material and paper records.
Information requests about air, water, land, and the habitats of animals and plants, emissions, radiation, noise and other forms of pollution, policies, plans and laws on the environment will be dealt with under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 (EIR).
The Act does not cover requests for ‘personal information’ held about you. This is covered by the Data Protection Act 1998.
Tick tock – Information Commissioner Office Video
This video will help you to understand the Council’s responsibilities under the Freedom of information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations.
How to make a request
Before you make a request, please check if the information you want is already published in our …
If the information is not already published, use the online form to make your request.
Your request must include:
- Your actual name, for example, John Smith, Angela Smith
- The address or email address where the information should be sent
- An outline of the information you would like..
You can ask for any information relating to the Council, however, your right to ask for information only relates to information held by us at the time that you make your request. The right is to access information rather than records or documents and although you are not required to ask for any particular document, you must describe the information you are asking for in as much detail as possible.
The How to access information from a public body guidance gives you more information about what you should include in a request.
If we don’t have enough information to find what you want, we may come back to you with more questions which will slow down the process and delay your response.
You should receive an acknowledgement within one working day, and receive your information within 20 working days, unless an FOI exemption or EIR exception applies.
Exemptions/exceptions allow the Council to withhold information if it falls within certain categories. An absolute exemption may apply where the information requested is personal data of someone else or if the information is already published on our website.
Request fees and charges
You will not be charged for information that is readily available, unless a charge is listed in our Publication Scheme.
However, the regulations allow us to pass on the cost of supplying information – photcopying, printing, postage costs.
The Environmental Information Regulations also allow us to charge for staff time involved in processing requests.
There will be no charge if the total costs is under £25.
We will send you a ‘fee notice’ if a fee is payable. The fee must be paid within 3 months.
Unfortunately, if your fee is not paid your request will be closed. Please see our Access to Information Charging Schedule October 2017 for more information.
Request refusal reasons
There are a number of reasons for refusing to provide information, including:
- we do not hold the information
- it will take more than 18 working hours to provide the information (we will contact you and try to narrow your requirements)
- if an FOI exemption or EIR exception applies.
The Freedom of Information Act and the Environmental Information Regulations have a list of exemptions/exceptions which allow the Council to withhold information if it falls within certain categories. An absolute exemption may apply where the information is already publicly available on our website.
For other exemptions/exceptions we must consider whether the public interest in applying the FOI exemption or EIR exception outweighs the public interest in disclosing the requested information. For example, if we think the information is commercially sensitive or disclosure would affect law enforcement.
If your request is refused, we will explain why and give you details of how to apply for an internal review of this decision.
We will always try to help you with queries and requests for information.
If you disagree with any exemptions applied to your request for information, or you are not satisfied with how we have handled your request, you are entitled to ask for an internal review of the Council’s response.
Please see our FOI - Complaints Procedure for more information.